2019 Annual Report

Save the Persecuted Christians | November, 2019

Our Vital Mission

Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) was established, initially as an informal coalition, to fill a unique and urgent need: To educate Americans on the growing persecution of Christians in a record number of countries worldwide and to complement and enhance the work of others seeking to relieve their suffering. We alone do so in a systemic way – by striving to hold the perpetrators accountable and by creating real costs to them for their crimes against humanity.

As of September 5, 2019, we are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Consequently, all contributions made to our organization are retroactively afforded tax-deductible status back to December 3, 2018. That is the date of when we formally registered the STPC as an independent corporation, the better to host and lead the growing Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition.

Today, the Coalition our trans-denomination, non-partisan organization is blessed to represent and empower, includes nearly 200 non-governmental organizations and faith groups. They have come together in recognition of the increasing need to arouse Americans who are mostly unaware of the atrocities being committed against Christian believers. Such ignorance is primarily due to what is, at best, the all-too-widespread inattention and, at worst, the callous indifference of many Western leaders and media organizations to the magnitude of the crisis now being experienced by Christians around the world.

Save the Persecuted Christians is in the process of becoming something potentially far more consequential and necessary: a powerful, national grassroots movement. At this writing, thousands of ordinary Americans have joined us in giving voice in the councils of government and the media, both here and abroad, to those who are otherwise silenced, often brutally, simply because they follow Jesus. To date, more than 1,000 churches and synagogues have adopted our SaveUs banner to associate themselves publicly with our cause and to enlist their congregants and passers-by on its behalf. This grassroots movement provides the much-needed popular support to advance policies that protect and defend true religious freedom abroad, which is inextricably tied to national security, American interests, prosperity and peace.

The Crisis at Hand

More than eighty percent of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedoms are restricted. And of those being persecuted for their faith, eighty percent are Christians. Other statistics further illuminate the gravity of the problem: According to Aid to the Church in Need, an STPC Coalition partner, an estimated 327 million Christians are persecuted for their faith. That number is roughly equal to the number of men, women and children currently living in the United States. Another STPC Partner, Open Doors USA estimates that at least 245 million Christians are being heavily persecuted. That means they are being subjected to rape, torture, enslavement, banishment and murder, sometimes on a genocidal scale. Indeed, as many as eleven are killed every day because they follow Christ.

Most importantly, the trend is in the wrong direction. Open Doors USA has concluded that there are 30 million more Christians being heavily persecuted this year than in 2018. Clearly, much more must be done.

What We are Doing to Rise to the Challenge

Since its founding, Save the Persecuted Christians has become a valued and trusted resource for the Trump administration, Members of Congress, the media and the public at large.

We have established close working relationships with key executive branch officials, including such leaders as the Vice President and his staff, key figures on the National Security Council, the White House Public Liaison Office and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom which is led by a good friend, U.S. Ambassador Sam Brownback. We have also collaborated with members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) now led by another close ally, Chairman Tony Perkins.

In Congress, we have cultivated ties with the International Religious Freedom Caucus, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Helsinki Commission. We are also participants in the International Religious Freedom Roundtable hosted on Capitol Hill, which is being promoted and replicated, with the support of Secretary Mike Pompeo and Amb. Brownback, in countries around the world. This civil society organization brings together a large, multi-faith body to elevate and protect religious freedom internationally.

Our impact in the media has been growing as well. We have: hosted a number of traditional press conferences and educational events at the National Press Club and elsewhere; emerged as a go-to resource for TV, radio and print outlets with published articles and citations in national, Christian and international media (e.g., the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, Fox News, Laura Ingraham’s Faithwire, Voice of America, The Christian Post, Christian Broadcast Network, and many more); and expanded our presence on influential social media platforms.

The STPC’s reach through such earned media is significant and growing. In 2018: STPC was mentioned or referenced in the mainstream media 64 times reaching an estimated 226 million unique audience members. Thus far in 2019, we have had 351 “hits” in the mainstream media, reaching 510 million unique audience members. STPC’s public relations firm, Hamilton Strategies, estimates that the value of such earned publicity to be approximately $197,000. It has risen in 2019 to $367,000 and counting.

In addition, in response to a request from Amb. Brownback, we launched a news aggregator, ChristianPersecutionNews.com, to serve as a one-stop resource for tracking the plight of the world’s Christians. It provides an important tool for our Coalition, grassroots membership, government officials and the media needing an easy way to stay informed about developments in this space.

In 2020, we plan to make this valued tool even more robust by linking human rights reports and designations with country-specific news stories to better track anti-Christian persecution globally. We have been invited, starting next year, to distribute at no cost to the STPC a weekly television program via Christian Television News, a “force-multiplier” that will massively increase our ability to reach and impact audiences all over the world.

Tangible Accomplishments: A Case Study

A prime example of the sort of difference-making work Save the Persecuted Christians is doing, and we believe is uniquely capable of performing, is its campaign on behalf of the 100 million beleaguered Christians of Nigeria. Given the burgeoning genocide they face at the hands of Sharia-supremacists and its horrific implications – both for them, for their country, for the wider Lake Chad region, for the rest of Africa and, indeed, for the wider world – we have focused on making a difference by: a) authoritatively challenging the official Nigerian and State Department narrative of what is happening and b) securing U.S. engagement to help attenuate this crisis.

Specifically, with the guidance of former Congressman Frank Wolf, a founding member and inspiring leader of the STPC Coalition and the author of the seminal International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, our organization has accomplished the following:

• We have helped provide the highest levels of our government with information and eyewitnesses that challenge the Nigerian government’s disinforming party-line (i.e., the only thing happening there are “herdsmen-farmer conflicts” that have nothing to do with Islamist imperialism and the jihad by which it is advanced). For example, as a result of our equipping the State Department last Spring with information regarding what were actually multiple jihadist attacks that resulted in the deaths of more than 400 Christians, mostly women and children, of the Adara tribe of Kaduna State, the U.S. government increased its pressure on the regime in Abuja that is dominated by the same Fulani tribe responsible for many of such atrocities. The tribe’s elders and 20 of its young men who had been detained without charge were swiftly released back to their families in May and June.

• Also, in June, we worked with Nigerian members of our Coalition to bring a Nigeria Crisis Delegation to the United States to provide first-hand testimony about what the anti-Christian persecution that is underway in its members’ homeland and neighboring countries. This delegation included the mother of Leah Sharibu, a 14-year-old schoolgirl kidnapped in February 2018 and held by the jihadists of Boko Haram as a “slave for life” simply for refusing to renounce her faith in Jesus. We arranged for the Crisis Delegation to have a series of high-level meetings (including with the Vice President’s Chief of Staff, the Deputy AID Administrator, Amb. Brownback and the National Security Council’s top staffer on international religious freedom).

We also engineered a series of public events and media availabilities that enabled their personal accounts of persecution, many of which have been suppressed by their own government, to reach a wide national and international audience. For instance, Leah’s mother, Rebecca, was able to give testimony on Capitol Hill in the course of a Tom Lantos Commission hearing on genocide in Nigeria. Rep. Gus Bilirakus, chair of the International Religious Freedom Caucus and other members of Congress, as well as the then-newly appointed USCIRF Chairman, Tony Perkins, took up Leah’s case by adopting her as a prisoner of conscience. STPC facilitated the Crisis Delegation’s invitation to the Heritage Foundation and its appearances on Glenn Beck’s radio and television programs, among other powerful platforms.

• Most notable of all was the effect of our delegation’s visit to Mike Pence’s office. It prompted the Vice President to summon his Nigerian counterpart to the White House to answer to the Crisis Delegation’s allegations of rampant, religiously-motivated insecurity, kidnappings and killings committed with impunity and, it seems, with the support of Nigeria’s federal and state government. Afterwards, the STPC leadership was given a special briefing by the Vice President’s staff confirming that our delegation had provided important revelations on the violence happening in Africa’s most populous country and assuring us that the administration was giving this matter a new priority. Evidence of that priority was the subsequent dispatch to Nigeria of U.S. AID Administrator Mark Green in August on a fact-finding mission. STPC was asked to provide contacts to him to interview.

• In October, our STPC team – in coordination with Rep. Wolf and a key coalition partner, the International Committee on Nigeria – sponsored the visit to Washington, D.C. of a formidable Nigerian Christian, his country’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He brought to bear the authority of an internationally acclaimed elder statesman as he forcefully endorsed a longstanding priority of our Coalition: the imperative need for a U.S. Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in light of what he confirmed is the rapid and dangerous Islamization happening there without perceptible objection, let alone effective interference, on the part of the international community. We are working to bring this respected ex-general, along with several current Christian Nigerian state governors, back to the United States as soon as possible to meet with Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo and others to further advance this initiative.

Other Accomplishments

The Ministerial on Religious Freedom: In July, Save the Persecuted Christians was invited for the second year in a row to participate as a non-governmental organization in the U.S. Department of State-hosted Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. In addition, we partnered with members of our Coalition to host three side events to: 1) expose the ongoing genocide of Christians in Nigeria; 2) draw attention to the terror-tactic used to degrade and demean women with the premier of our new exhibit, “Warfare on Women”; and 3) host a viewing of the newly released documentary, “Christians in the Mirror.”

Catalyzing Exhibits: The Warfare on Women exhibit joins our first, highly acclaimed “People of the Cross” exhibit which was first displayed in the U.S. Capitol complex during the previous year’s Religious Freedom Ministerial. Both are now touring the United States as part of our concerted effort to reach the people in and out of the pews and to enhance the impact of our speakers bureau, which offers experts from our Coalition to lay out the facts concerning this global crisis and inspire action.

Other venues where these exhibits have been shown include the Kansas, Minnesota and Massachusetts state capitols, megachurches and other houses of worship and conventions. We estimate that they have been seen by roughly 400,000 Americans, among them quite a number of influential clerical and political figures. And the Government of Hungary – an exemplary leader and partner in the fight to protect followers of Jesus – has just requested that the “People of the Cross” exhibit be prominently featured at its upcoming International Conference on Christian Persecution in Budapest at the end of November.

The United Nations: The Hungarian and Brazilian Foreign Ministers also honored the STPC initiative during the U.N. General Assembly meetings by affording its President and CEO, Frank Gaffney, to make the only intervention by a non-governmental organization during a public event addressed by them and their colleagues from the Philippines and the United Kingdom and by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Destro, among other senior diplomats.

The thrust of the meeting was extremely gratifying as its marquee participants effectively embraced our principal objectives by calling for action on behalf of persecuted Christians and, in the case of the UK’s Muslim Foreign Secretary, by specifically declaring that those responsible be held accountable and subjected to tangible costs for their criminal behavior. With regard to the latter, he announced that his government has begun withholding foreign aid to nations that persecute believers.

According to recent press accounts, the Trump administration is actively considering similarly using religious freedom as a determinant of U.S. foreign aid allocations. If adopted, this would be an extraordinary affirmation of the STPC initiative and the potency of its advocacy.

Holding the Enablers Accountable: Finally, in an enterprising effort to intensify pressure on the persecutors, Save the Persecuted Christians launched a campaign last spring to hold those who enable such criminals accountable, as well. In May, the STPC sponsored a multi-faith letter to Squire Patton Boggs (SPB), a prominent U.S.-based law firm that lobbies on behalf of state-sponsors of anti-Christian persecution like China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon and the Palestinian Authority. The Coalition called for SPB and other lobbying operations to “Stop Persecuting Believers” by representing and otherwise legitimating and empowering those responsible for crimes against people of faith.

When SPB ignored this appeal, STPC organized publicized visits to 15 of its offices around the country, accompanied in a number of cases by rallies designed to call attention to the fact that this firm and others like it are taking what amounts to “blood money” from persecutors to lobby on their behalf. The Coalition further followed up by sponsoring a petition to President Trump, his Cabinet and Members of Congress not to meet with such lobbyists as long as they represent persecuting regimes. It was delivered in October.

Poised for Even Greater Impact in 2020: Over the past two years, we have proven the value of the Save the Persecuted Christians concept and confirmed that the results it has achieved to date can be vastly enhanced with a proper grassroots organization championing the world’s followers of Jesus Christ. We are now prepared, funding permitting, to grow into a real national force-to-be- reckoned-with, by adding more state-level facilitators, pastor and clergy training and building engagement on college campuses in coordination with our Coalition partners and other organizations.

With so many of the world’s Christians being murderously attacked, imprisoned, tortured, raped, enslaved or exiled for their beliefs, the need has never been greater for the sort of national effort STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after an earlier and miraculously successful one that helped free another population then suffering from heavy persecution, i.e., Soviet Jews, by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through our movement, Save the Persecuted Christians is determined to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real and enduring relief for believers worldwide by systemically addressing the source of the problem – namely, the persecutors and their enablers – not just the symptoms of their repression.

We thank all our donors who have contributed to this vital work. We have partnered with the National Christian Foundation and can accept your anonymous contribution through this organization if you prefer using our fund number, 2905788. Or, you can make your one-time, or recurring, contribution through our website at SaveThePersecutedChristians.org. Checks can be mailed to our home office at Save the Persecuted Christians, PO Box 543, Monument, CO 80132.

With joy and thanksgiving,

Dede Laugesen
Executive Director
Save the Persecuted Christians

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